Grammy-nominated DJ Todd Terry lays down his essential seletion ahead of Wonderwood

As far as influential figures go, there aren’t many bigger in the house world than Todd Terry. The Brooklyn-born Grammy-nominated DJ, producer and remixer has over 30 years of industry experience and is widely considered as one of the godfathers of house music. After blowing up in Europe in the late ‘80s, word began to filter back stateside of Todd’s talent and he soon rose to global prominence.

Known for his masterful use of sampling, some of Todd’s best work is still relevant and supported by artists across the globe today – some decades on from its release. He has an innate ability to create timeless records, often pushing the boundaries of conventional genre pigeonholing and allowing him to fill most of his sets purely with his own works (something that you’ll be able to catch at Wonderwood, where he headlines later this month).

A character that bears that level of grandeur will always provide some absolute gems when sharing some of their favourite selections. We have been lucky enough to receive an exclusive selection of definitive house records, hand-picked by Todd himself:


Joe Smooth “Promised Land”

Released in 1987, Smooth got the idea for “Promised Land” while he was on tour in Europe with Farley “Jackmaster” Funk. He saw how well house music was received in Europe and wrote: “Promised Land” with inspiration from classic Motown songs.


Adonis “No Way Back”

Born and raised on the West Side of Chicago, Adonis is a pioneering American acid house musician. In 1986, he released “No Way Back”, which is widely considered to be one of the most influential Chicago house tracks of all time. The single, by estimate, sold over 100,000 copies and was selected as number 14 by on the 2014 Rolling Stone list of the 20 best Chicago house records


Reese & Santonio “The Sound”

One of only a few collaborations under their Reese & Santonio guise, Kevin Saunderson & Santonio Echols released their seminal record “The Sound” on Kevin’s KMS Records imprint in 1987. The rest, as they say, is “history”.


Royal House “Can You Party”

Todd is a man of many pseudonyms, one of which being ‘Royal House’. His “Can You Party” release on Idlers records in 1988 was perhaps one of his most masterful displays of sampling, with cuts from The Jackson 5, Malcolm X, Run-DMC and more included in the record.


Robert Owens “I’ll Be Your Friend”

Released in 1991 on RCA Records, Robert Owens’ “I’ll Be Your Friend” had heavy influence from none other than David Morales. Many people to this day refer to the record as a breath of fresh air, having begun to become disenchanted with the lack of depth and creativity in club/house music around that period.


Fast Eddie “Lets Go”

Prior to his entry into the realm of production, Fast Eddie was one of the premier DJs of the early Chicago house movement. He was also one of the first to popularise the genre of hip-house.


Ce Ce Peniston “Finally”

The 1991 debut single by American musician CeCe Peniston from her debut album, Finally. “Finally” became Peniston’s first (and biggest) hit song, peaking at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 in January 1992 and becoming her only US top-ten hit to date. Peniston grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and began writing pop songs during school. The words of “Finally” were purportedly penned during a chemistry class, while thinking about dating in college.


The Nightcrawlers “Push The Feeling On” (MK Dub Doom Mix)

“Push The Feeling On” was the first single from The Nightcrawlers debut album, Lets Push It (1995). It reached the top-10 in various European countries, including the UK, where it peaked at number 3. The song’s electronic bass line has become a feature of, and inspiration for many house music songs, both throughout the ’90s, as well as in the underground house music movement.


Marshal Jefferson “Move Your Body”

Sometimes known as the father of house music, Jefferson was originally a record producer in the Universal Recording Studios in Chicago, where he met the owner of Trax Records, Larry Sherman. Jefferson’s 1986 single for Trax, “Move Your Body (The House-Music Anthem),” was the first house record to ever use a piano, and to a colossal effect.


The Todd Terry Project “Bango”

Released under his ‘The Todd Terry Project’ alias, “Bango” (To The Batmobile) sampled even more of Todd’s intelligently creative sampling mind – with chops from Batman (the TV show), LL Cool J, Reese & Santonio and more across both sides of the record.


Kenlou “The Bounce”

One of the many aliases of the supreme Masters at Work (“Little” Louie Vega and Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez), they released “The Bounce” as Kenlou on their MAW imprint in 1995. The garage-house duo is well known for their blend of heritage from Puerto Rico, and affinity for soul music.


The Underground Solution “Luv Dancing”

A little known fact about this record – It was the first single Roger Sanchez ever released and came under an alias that was never used again. Released on the globally-adored Strictly Rhythm imprint, a label that is still very much aspiration for budding producers of ‘organic’ house music.


Kraftwerk “Numbers”

Formed in Düsseldorf in 1970 by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider, Kraftwerk is widely considered as innovators of electronic music and were among the first successful acts to popularize the genre. “Numbers” was released on Warner Bros. Records in 1981, paving the way for a wave of incredible electronic talent to follow.


Ralphi Rosario & Xavier Gold “You Use To Hold Me”

Released on Hot ix 5 in 1987, Ralphi Rosario’s You Used To Hold Me (featuring Xavier Gold) holds one of the more historical vocals in house music history. Co-produced by Kenny Jason, the record’s vocal has been used as an inspirational song-starter for decades, most notably a huge UKG remix by Scott & Leon in 2000.


Todd Terry Project “Back To The Beat”

Sampling plenty of B-boy flavour (a topic forever close to Todd’s heart), “Back To The Beat” was the B-side to “Bango” – Released on Fresh Records in ‘88. What an epic display of Todd’s incredible sampling skills to round up a phenomenal selection of quintessential records!

Todd headlines Wonderwood on Saturday, 27th July at Witton Woods & Country Park in Lancashire, he is joined by Gorgon City, Holy Goof, Low Steppa, Sonny Fodera, Mason Collective, Sam Divine, SASASAS and many more. First release tickets are now on sale for £32,50 plus booking fee, available from www.wonderwoodfestival.com.


About the author

For the last 20+ years, Damion has been an international touring DJ, promoter, touring agent, label owner, magazine editor and producer. He is currently the Group Editor and Managing Director of Decoded Magazine. Hear more at https://soundcloud.com/damionpell-1

Related